There is a steady drumbeat of stories that focus on our differences. No matter how you consume your news, you’ll see or hear stories about intolerance in our daily lives and political stalemates at every level of government. At the beginning of the year, the Pew Research Center released a poll and said that Americans predicted the country’s deep political divisions to persist – with 86 percent saying the country is more politically divided than ever. Shortly before that poll was released, however, Points of Light affiliate New York Cares reported that, just a week after one of the most divisive national elections in our country’s history, there was a 137 percent increase in people who came to them with an interest in volunteering.
Conference attendees shared their enthusiasm for national service throughout the Service Unites Summit through cheers, applause and social media.
Encompassing the themes of movement making, women’s empowerment, and economic and social justice, the Service Unites Summit at the Conference on Volunteering and Service in Seattle featured individuals from across the globe – coming together around the shared belief that being in the service of others can change the world.
From a young age, Mariela Shaker was a gifted violinist. At the age of 10, she joined the Arabic Institute of Music in Aleppo, Syria, graduating in 2004 with distinction. She then began traveling across Syria to perform in various festivals and concerts, eventually returning to the institute to teach music to a new generation of students.